Sunday 4 August 2019

Nocturnal ringing

It's that time of year again. No, not the annual glut of courgettes from the allotment, it's time to head to the beach in the middle of the night to trap storm petrels.

We had our first session on Friday evening/Saturday morning.We were joined by a few local birders keen to see these marvelous birds at-close-hand.

We were all set up by 10.30pm and then just had to wait. The tides weren't ideal, they're spring tides at the moment and big ones, so high tide was very high and low tide, which was at 11.40pm meant the sea was a very long way out, would it be too far for the birds to hear our calls?

After a long wait and much to the delight of those that had joined us we finally caught a storm petrel at 12.45. As usual, those that had never seen storm petrels in the hand were amazed by how small they are.

Storm petrel
We caught another bird at 01:10 and decided to call it a night at 2am.

Two birds is about our average for our visits to Druridge and over the last five years we've caught 27 individuals. We've never failed to catch any...yet - that's jinxed it.

Hopefully we'll get some more sessions this autumn. Ringing storm petrels is good value as we get both recoveries and sometimes catch birds that have been ringed elsewhere all helping to piece together a picture of these strange sea-faring birds. You can read about a couple of recoveries from 2018 here.

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